Monday, October 27, 2014

Chalkboard Christmas Countdown

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. 
You need a calendar, and this is where it's at! 

I saw a few calendars like this last year in my Pinterest perusings, so some friends and I decided to take the plunge and make our own. 
When I first set this out in December, the numbers are visible (as shown above).

Each day of December, we turn over a number to reveal a picture depicting scenes from Christ's life with an associated scripture reference, which we read together. As you can see, the scripture for Christmas Day is the account of Jesus' birth, from Luke 2.

Here's where the chalkboard function of the calendar comes into play.  Below each number/picture, I write an activity for us to do as a family. I will list several I have used below for ideas.

I use this chalk marker (purchased on Amazon, but also at craft stores), to write on the board. It wipes off with a wet paper towel. Regular chalk works, too.

You will need: 
12x12" sheet of numbered Christmas scrapbook paper
Chalkboard paint
Paint brushes
Mod Podge
Heavy-duty hole punch
Heavy-duty scissors, utility knife, and/or slide-cutter
12x12" piece of chip board
Not pictured: 
Black craft paint
Jesus pictures sized to same shape as numbers
Fifty (50) 1" thin nails with small heads
17"x14" wood boards
Vinyl and access to a vinyl cutter to make the heading 

Find scrapbook paper you really liked with 25 Christmas numbers. We found ours at a local scrapbook store. My sister, who lives in another state, decided to make one with friends when I told her what we were doing. She found the same paper at Hobby Lobby. Here is a link to some similar paper (it looks to have numbers the same size as ours, which is nice for the Jesus pictures I have links to below).
We also bought chip board from a scrapbook store, chalkboard paint, thin nails with small heads (bring your hole punch when you shop), and had 17" x 14" boards cut and routed (courtesy of a husband).  

I sized Jesus pictures from to fit the numbers on the paper. This art is free to use as long as you aren't selling it.  I also added corresponding scriptures to the front of each picture. (Note: some scriptures are from the Book of Mormon. If you prefer only Holy Bible references, I attached the sized pics sans scriptures).  

Jesus Pictures
Jesus Pictures with scriptures (Please ignore the extra pages. I had a hard time with Excel's formatting when I added the scripture references. I finally just gave up trying to get rid of the added pages.)

To assemble: 
1. Sand the boards, then paint with the chalkboard paint. We did 2-3 coats and primed it with chalk when it dried.
2. Mount the scrapbook numbers on the chip board with a thin layer of Mod-podge and cut out each one. Heavy-duty scissors, a nice slide-cutter, or a utility knife with a guide are all good options for cutting through the chip board.
3. Paint the back of each mounted number black, if desired. (b/c the Jesus pics aren't exactly the same size as the numbers).
4. Print out the Jesus pics, and cut those out. Mount them on the back of the number they fit on.
5. Mod-podge over the front and back of the chip board pieces. 
6. Punch 2 holes in the top corners of each chip board piece. 
7. We arranged the pieces on the painted boards leaving room at the top for a heading and a 1/2 inch or so on the sides and bottom. I used painters tape to keep them in place, but I would use VERY small pieces b/c it took the modpodge off of a couple of my pictures and I had to re-cover them.
8. We nailed into each hole, leaving enough nail sticking out for hanging, but in enough so they are firmly in place.
9. A friend of a friend with a Silohuette machine made the heading for us with white vinyl.
10. I bought a chalk marker off Amazon for $4. It comes off with water, but doesn't wipe off easily like traditional chalk. Mine works great and is Uchida brand, called "Bistro Chalk Marker."

Here are a few process pictures a friend took who I shared this how-to with pre-blog post. (Thanks Cindy!!)
Scrap book paper, chip board, Mod-podge, brushes.

 Painting the chip board with craft paint first is much easier than waiting to paint after everything's cut out. (I would know.;-))

At this point in the process I was beginning to get excited. The finished product was in my sights. 

Here are some examples of activities to write on the chalkboard under the numbers. I love that I can customize this part of the calendar every year to accommodate concerts, school performances, parties, family traditions, and whatever else comes along from year to year.

  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Dance to Christmas music
  • Choose a toy to give away
  • Go to a Creche exhibit
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Attend a church devotional
  • Make snowflakes
  • Have hot cocoa with candycanes
  • Make gingerbread houses
  • Act out the nativity
  • Host a neighborhood cookie exchange
  • Drive around to see lights
  • Make and decorate cut-out sugar cookies
  • Make teacher gifts
  • Deliver gifts to neighbors
  • Go caroling 
  • Play the present exchange game
  • Have a nativity scavenger hunt with scripture clues
  • Serve at a homeless shelter
  • Do a random act of kindness 
  • Attend The Nutcracker
  • Read "The Night Before Christmas"

Live Randomly Simple

This post is linking at these parties.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea! What a great way to keep Christ in Christmas and the fun activities underneath would still appeal to my kids. Nice work, I'm swooning a little. Thanks for sharing at Happiness is Homemade link party!